Thursday, January 21, 2010


Slightly depressing news from the BBC: "Detentions where pupils are forced to listen to classical music are an effective deterrent against unruly behaviour, a head teacher has found. Brian Walker, head at West Park School in Derby, runs the two-hour detentions, featuring Elgar, Mozart, Verdi and Bach, on a Friday after school. Pupils on their third official warning that week can expect to attend. As well as listening to classical music for an hour, pupils also have to watch an educational television show."

When you read on, it's not entirely clear that this means they hate the music, though that is the implication. The idea of using music or poetry as punishment feels incredibly backward looking. Rather than encouraging kids to delve into unknown riches, it reinforces the notion that there is something to fear or despise about 'classical' arts. There has to be a better way to motivate and re-direct pupils. (Apparently, playing canned classical music at bus stops improves youthful behaviour and disperses rowdy gangs!)